One of the many benefits of being a member of Psi Chi is the opportunity to develop your leadership skills. Leadership in Psi Chi can take many forms. It might be as a chapter officer, the chair of a chapter committee, the primary organizer of a chapter event, the Psi Chi representative to other organizations on your campus, a representative on a Psi Chi Regional Steering Committee, or an assistant at a Psi Chi regional or national event. The best way to develop and enhance your leadership skills is to get involved in your chapter and be willing to take on leadership roles. Being a leader offers many rewards such as practical knowledge about how to work with other people, marketable skills, a line on your resume, experiences to talk about in graduate school and employment interviews, opportunities to initiate projects you value, satisfaction in seeing your ideas come to fruition, and gratification that comes from mentoring others. Of course, it is not always easy to be a leader, but Psi Chi offers many resources to assist you in this role. For example, you can turn to your chapter's faculty advisor, officers in other Psi Chi chapters, members of the Psi Chi National Council, or staff members in the Psi Chi National Office for advice and assistance in dealing with difficult issues. Psi Chi programs at the regional meetings typically include chapter exchange sessions that provide opportunities for chapter officers to share ideas about strategies that work and do not work as a means to maintaining active, vibrant chapters. Articles in Eye on Psi Chi
(e.g., Giordano & Voss, 2002; Sleigh & Nelson, 2005; Styles, 2000; Sternberg, 2005; Youth, 2005) also provide practical advice to help chapter leaders and faculty advisors enhance their effectiveness. Now, get ready for a new Psi Chi initiative designed to help you develop your leadership skills–the Psi Chi National Leadership Conference.Psi Chi National Leadership Conference
In winter 2005, Psi Chi chapters approved an amendment to the Psi Chi Constitution that mandated that Psi Chi hold a National Leadership Conference (NLC) every two years in conjunction with the Psi Chi National Council's January Mid-Winter meeting (see Article VII, Section 4
of the Psi Chi Constitution at www.psichi.org).
The purpose of the NLC is to bring together current and former national presidents of Psi Chi, current chapter presidents, and current chapter faculty advisors to discuss leadership issues and help chapter presidents and faculty advisors enhance their leadership skills.
The Psi Chi National Council appointed Dr. Robert Youth,
Psi Chi National President, Dr. Christopher Koch,
Past-President, Dr. John Davis,
President-Elect, and I to the NLC Task Force. Together with Paula Miller, Executive Officer/Chief Operations Officer, we have been working on the conference plans since August 2005. Psi Chi was fortunate to receive a grant from the American Psychological Association's Education Directorate to help us with the planning process. In February 2006, we conducted a national survey of Psi Chi chapter presidents and faculty advisors to get their input on program sessions and other aspects of the conference. We are using the data from the 504 respondents to help guide us in planning the details of the 2007 conference.
The first Psi Chi National Leadership Conference
will be held in Atlanta, Georgia
on January 5-7, 2007.
The program will include presentations by leaders in the field about leadership issues as well as ethical and social responsibilities for leaders in the advancement of psychological science; concurrent presentation and discussion sessions dealing with effective leadership in the discipline and in chapters; informal discussions about the opportunities and challenges for chapter leaders; and events to facilitate networking with other Psi Chi leaders. Participants will be able to take back to their chapter creative practical ideas and material for enhancing their own leadership and nurturing new leaders. Psi Chi will provide hotel rooms, some meals, and travel stipends to as many chapter presidents and advisors as possible. Participants will pay a registration fee to help defray some of the other costs associated with the conference. As I write this column, the task force members are still working on the final details of the program, but we are very excited about the way in which the conference is taking shape. Your chapter will soon receive details about the NLC and registration forms for the conference. Please take the time to review the NLC program and send us your registration form.
Members of the Psi Chi National Council encourage you to take advantage of this new opportunity to enhance your leadership skills and look forward to meeting you at the January 2007 National Leadership Conference.References
Giordano, P. J., & Voss, K. D. (2002, Spring). Leadership matters. Eye on Psi Chi, 6
(3), pp. 4-5.
Sleigh, M. J., & Nelson, D. W. (2005, Fall). Maintaining the balancing act as faculty advisor. Eye on Psi Chi, 10
(1), pp. 18-19, 36-37.
Styles, S. P. (2000, Winter). Leadership, publicity, activities, and building community: Four keys to a vital Psi Chi chapter. Eye on Psi Chi, 4
(2), pp. 30-31.
Sternberg, R. J. (2005, Fall). Producing tomorrow's leaders–In psychology and everything else. Eye on Psi Chi, 10
(1), pp. 14-15, 32-33.
Youth, R. A. (2005, Fall). What constitutes leadership. Eye on Psi Chi, 10
(1), pp. 4, 35.